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Archive for the 'Insurance' Category

Mount Kisco Medical Group renews MVP contract


Mount Kisco Medical Group has extended its contract with MVP Health Care for three years effective the start of 2009, both sides said today. MVP is the third insurer with whom the medical group has renewed contracts. Cigna and Healthnet signed deals earlier, said Dr. Scott Hayworth, the practice’s chief executive officer. Talks are continuing with a fourth insurer, whom Hayworth declined to identify. The practice will continue to see patients covered by that insurer while talks continue, he said. Mount Kisco Medical Group has 11 offices in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, and 170 primary care and specialty physicians in MVP’s network. The extension covers all MVP plans except its Medicaid managed care and Medicare Advantage programs.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
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Irvington company covers costs of organ transplants


The Maxon Co., an Irvington-based manager of health care plans, has begun offering insurance to cover the cost of organ transplants.

Maxon said it is the first third-party administrator in the state to offer the insurance, which is offered to employees of companies with self-funded insurance plans.

The coverage is underwritten by AIG Medical Excess, a specialty medical insurer, and covers costs related to transplants of the heart, lung, liver, intestine, kidney, pancreas, bone marrow and stem cells, Maxon said.

The insurance covers all transplant-related expenses, including physician, hospital and drug charges, when in-network resources are used, Maxon said. Coverage begins at patient evaluation and continues for a year after the surgery, it said.

Posted by David Schepp on Friday, August 29th, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
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Standard & Poor’s affirms ratings on MBIA


Standard & Poor’s Rating Services yesterday affirmed its AA financial-strength rating of MBIA Inc., and removed the rating from credit watch negative.

S&P’s outlook for the troubled Armonk-based bond insurer is negative, S&P said.

“We assigned a negative outlook to MBIA due to its significant exposure to domestic nonprime mortgages and related exposures,” S&P credit analyst David Veno said in a statement.

Removal of the negative outlook, Veno said, “will depend on clarification of ultimate potential losses as well as future business prospects.”

The possibility of new regulations and the outcome of MBIA’s business decisions are also factors, he said.

Posted by David Schepp on Friday, August 15th, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
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Universal American earnings rise to $28M


Universal American Corp. reported earnings rose to $28.4 million in the second quarter, including a net gain on investments of $1.8 million, compared to $22.3 million a year ago, a 27.5 percent rise.

Excluding the net gain of 2 cents a share, the Rye Brook insurer reported per-share earnings of 30 cents in the three months ending June 30, compared to 35 cents last year.

Revenues rose 77.3 percent to $1.3 billion, the company said, noting that excluding revenues from its MemberHealth business, acquired in September, revenues rose just 16.5 percent.

Posted by David Schepp on Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 9:51 am |
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MBIA shares fall in wake of downgrade


Shares of MBIA Inc. tumbled 13 percent today after Moody’s Investor Service stripped the struggling Armonk-based bond insurer of its prized Aaa rating, Moody’s highest.

Moody’s downgraded MBIA’s rating two notches to A2. Moody’s also downgraded the rating for MBIA rival Ambac Financial Group Inc. one step to Aa.

The move, taken late Thursday, followed similar actions by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s.

“MBIA’s insured portfolio remains vulnerable to further economic deterioration,” Moody’s said in a statement. “The outlook for the ratings is negative, reflecting the material uncertainty about the firm’s strategy and the … likelihood of further adverse developments in its insurance portfolios or operations.”

MBIA has recorded heavy losses largely due to its exposure to the weak housing market and a troubled market for subprime mortgages to riskier borrowers.

For its part, MBIA said yesterday that it was “disappointed” by Moody’s decision, saying it was “baffled” by the ratings agency’s analysis.

“We believe the fundamentals of the company support a higher rating,” MBIA said.

MBIA shares ended the week’s trading down 86 cents to $5.59 each. The stock has fallen more than 91 percent in the last year.

Posted by David Schepp on Friday, June 20th, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
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Business group back greater insurance rate scrutiny


The head of the Westchester County Association called for greater regulation of the insurance industry in the wake of a recent settlement requiring Oxford Health Insurance to refund $50 million in overcharges to about 37,000 small businesses.
President William M. Mooney Jr. said he supports a proposal that would require the state Insurance Department to approve rate increases. The agency currently reviews increases after the fact; a review of Oxford led to the refund settlement.
“Our own Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Healthcare Crisis has been advocating this measure be passed for the past three years,” Mooney said in a statement. “We are pleased that the governor also recognizes the need for lawmakers to restore the tools to better monitor and manage the marketplace for health insurance rates.”

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Friday, June 6th, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
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Oxford Health to refund $50 million to small businesses


Oxford Health Insurance Inc. will refund $50 million to about 37,000 small businesses in the New York metro area, including nearly 7,000 in the Lower Hudson Valley, who were overcharged on their policies, the state Insurance Department said today.
The department reviewed Oxford after the insurer reported that its loss ratio for small group policies in 2006 was below the 75 percent minimum. The company said the benefits it paid amounted to 70.6 percent of its overall premiums that year.
The affected products are Oxford’s small group Freedom Plan Direct, Freedom Plan Metro and Freedom Plan EPO. The settlement does not affect Oxford’s small group and direct pay HMO and “point of service” policyholders.
The small business policyholders have about 300,000 employees and family members. The refunds average $1,360 per business, about 5.5 percent of the total average annual premium in 2006, but the refund will vary depending on the number of covered individuals.
The state said that Oxford will be contacting its clients about the settlement. It estimated that 15 percent of the affected businesses were in Westchester, 2.9 percent were in Rockland, and just under 1 percent were in Putnam.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Thursday, May 29th, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
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Putnam broker elected to lead state insurance group


Neal L. Sullivan, president of Sullivan Financial Group in Mahopac, has been elected chairman of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York Inc.

As chairman, Sullivan oversees the statewide organization’s activities, serves on its executive committee and reports to its board of directors, IIABNY said.

Sullivan’s one-year term began May 9 when the association held its annual meeting at the Doral Arrowwood conference center in Rye Brook.

Sullivan has served in several capacities with IIABNY since 2003, the DeWitt, N.Y.-based trade group said.

Posted by David Schepp on Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 12:06 pm |
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New City native opens wealth advisory firm


Money manager Christopher Conover, a New City native, has opened Hudson Valley Wealth Management in his hometown at 151 N. Main St.

The fee-only investment advisory firm has three employees.

The firm’s Web site is www.hudsonvalleywealth.com.

Posted by David Schepp on Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 9:17 am |
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MBIA director resigns to take consulting post


A member of the board at MBIA Inc. is stepping down to take a position as a consultant to help the bond insurer’s senior management assess future risk, the company said today.

Debra Perry, who has served as a director of the company since 2004, was asked by the company to take the position, which will help the board’s credit-risk committee and Chairman and Chief Executive Joseph W. Brown “to refine and implement MBIA’s risk strategy for the global credit markets” as part of its 5-year restructuring plan, MBIA said.

The Armonk-based company has been hard hit by the subprime mortgage crisis.

Perry’s resignation from the board is effective today, MBIA said.

It isn’t known how much Perry will be paid in her new position. An MBIA spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional information.

As MBIA director, Perry earned nearly $156,000 in 2006.

Prior to joining MBIA, Perry worked for 12 years at bond-rating agency Moody’s Corp., serving as chief administrative officer and chief credit officer with responsibility over several rating groups.

Posted by David Schepp on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 at 12:17 pm |
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Cuomo reaches pacts with more insurers


UnitedHealth Group Inc. and another insurer have reached agreements with state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo regarding the their physician’s ranking programs, which includes measures for cost and quality among health providers.

In addition to UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, Cuomo also reached an agreement with Group Health Inc. and Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York, or HIP, Cuomo said today.

The pacts bring to five the number of insurers that have adopted Cuomo’s model for ranking doctors, Cuomo’s office said. It previously reached agreements with Aetna, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna Healthcare.

“We are witnessing the insurance market correcting itself,� Cuomo said in a statement. “The three largest insurers in the country have now all said they will apply the principles of our model for doctor rankings nationwide.�

UnitedHealth’s agreement also applies to Oxford Health Plans Inc. unit, Cuomo said.

The attorney general’s physicians ranking model was created in consultation with the American Medical

Association and the Medical Society of the State of New York, along with a host of consumer advocacy groups including Yonkers-based Consumers Union and the National Partnership for Women & Families, the statement said.

The agreements followed an investigation by Cuomo into insurers’ physician-ranking programs, which he charged simply steered patients to cheaper doctors not better ones.

Posted by David Schepp on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 at 7:11 pm |
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National Home merger on hold till November


National Home Health Care Corp., the Scarsdale home health-care company that is being acquired by Angelo Gordon & Co., said today the merger won’t be completed next month, as anticipated.

National Home said it agreed to extend the termination date of its merger with the Manhattan investment bank to Nov. 21 to allow additional time for state Department of Health approval.

The extension may result in an increase of 10 cents a share in its quarterly dividend payment, raising it to 17.5 cents a share, National Home said.

Shares of the provider of home health care and staffing services were higher by 18 cents in mid-afternoon trading to $12.45 a share.

Posted by David Schepp on Thursday, August 30th, 2007 at 2:37 pm |
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Sen. Clinton blasts Allstate for hurricane policy


U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, has written a letter expressing her concerns about Allstate Corp.’s ongoing move to lessen its presence in the homeowners insurance market in Westchester County and the surrounding region. “It is my understanding that your decision was based on a ‘hurricane risk management strategy’ that your company implemented last year,� Clinton wrote in the letter dated Friday. “However, it is still not clear how the perceived risk justified your sudden decision to deny coverage to your customers in New York. Moreover, other insurers in the same areas and presumably exposed to the same risks, have not taken the extreme steps you have.�

Allstate, the largest insurer in downstate New York with 26 percent of the market, announced in 2006 that it would no longer write new homeowners’ coverage in Westchester, Long Island or New York City as part of a broader move to lower its hurricane risks in coastal states. It also said last year that it would not renew some homeowners’ policies in those areas as they expire, with total attrition of policies not to exceed a state-mandated limit of 4 percent a year.

Clinton’s letter was addressed to Thomas J. Wilson, chief executive officer of Allstate.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, August 10th, 2007 at 5:22 pm |
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Business in the Burbs is our online news blog about businesses based or operating in the Lower Hudson Valley. Visitors here will also find items of interest to consumers in the region. Most contributions are from business reporters and editors covering Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.


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